Baudelaire: L'Irréductible by Antoine Compagnon

By Antoine Compagnon

Contrairement à l'idée reçue qui fait de lui le précurseur des avant-gardes du XXe siècle, Baudelaire fut à los angeles fois moderne et antimoderne. On l’éprouve ici devant certaines nouveautés qui l’obsédèrent : l. a. presse, los angeles photographie, los angeles ville et l’art.

C’étaient diverses facettes d’une même « selected moderne », fuyante et contradictoire, à laquelle il donna le nom de modernité.
Le poète allie devant elles l’horreur et l’extase : les journaux à grand tirage le dégoûtent, mais il assiège ces « canailles » de directeurs pour qu’ils le publient ; il attaque los angeles photographie, mais il pose pour des clichés de légende. Cette ambivalence constitue l. a. toile de fond du Spleen de Paris, sommet des contradictions du dernier Baudelaire, véritable objecteur de los angeles sense of right and wrong moderne.

Un Baudelaire insoupçonné autant qu’irréductible.

Cahier picture papier/numérique

Illustration originale d’après un portrait de Charles Baudelaire par Nadar, vers 1855
© Flammarion, 2014.

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I pass over here all the debate about the actual position and reference of this fragment, cf. 855–70. Farrell 1991: 316–17 describes this technique as ‘a confrontation between . . the genuine, archaic Hesiod and . . the symbolic, Alexandrian Hesiod in the person of Aratus’. 276–7 at the head of a ‘Hesiodic’ passage), then the opening of the Georgics is to be added to the evidence for the title Works and Days as going back (at least) to the Hellenistic period, cf. West 1978a: 136. 4). The reference to stars is perfectly appropriate for Hesiodic time-reckoning, but if our thoughts were here already turning to Aratus, then the fact that Virgil foregrounds terram uertere as the first agricultural task to be named shows that we were on the right track, for he is picking up Phainomena 7–9:53 λέγει δ᾿ ὅτε βῶλος ἀρίστη βουσί τε καὶ μακέληισι, λέγει δ᾿ ὅτε δεξιαὶ ὧραι καὶ φυτὰ γυρῶσαι καὶ σπέρματα πάντα βαλέσθαι.

43 A didactic poem? characters offer patterns and ‘lessons’ by which we can shape our lives, patterns which, as Plato knew only too well, encourage and challenge imitation, whereas Hesiod explicitly (‘didactically’) prescribed how we are to live our moral and social lives. 11 A late imperial epitaph from Side commemorates a priestess of Artemis called Nane: ᾿Αρτέμιδος ζάκορόν με πολυθρήνον ἅπασιν λεύσις, ἣν ᾿Αείδου σ[κυθρὸς ἔ]χει θάλαμος. ην κεῖμαι δ᾿ οὐκ ἄψυχος . . (SGO 18/15/14. 1–5) You see me, a priestess of Artemis, much bewailed by everyone; the [grim] wedding-chamber of Hades holds me.

109. 32 Hesiodic voices greater interest, but rather through how Hesiod and ‘Hesiodic’ themes were actually used and discussed in both literary and non-literary contexts. An approach to the Works and Days through what we know of how it was read in antiquity brings with it a significant advantage, which also represents a significant danger. 84 We know that, at least from the Alexandrian period on, scholarly ancient readers too were concerned to identify the non-Hesiodic in the Works and Days, but there was of course nothing like the modern concern with structural coherence at the level of detail.

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